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Creating Change in Restaurants — for People and Profit

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Over the past few years, restaurant owners have experienced considerable upheaval in their industry. It started with mandatory closures, high food costs, and rising inflation. These difficulties forced many operations to shut down while others struggled to stay open — or reopen — even if it meant taking on unexpected debt.

But then came the labor challenges — specifically staff shortages and minimum wage increases. Suddenly, restaurants couldn’t get the workers they needed or afford to pay them even if they could. This year, the National Restaurant Association found that 98% of operators still see labor costs as challenging, and 45% say they need more employees to support customer demand.

With this in mind, addressing the labor dilemma in restaurants has become a top priority. And with no foreseeable upturn in the economic climate, three challenges become apparent:

  1. Restaurants must be able to offer service from real people (not robots) while keeping their labor budget in check.
  2. Since many restaurants are often short-staffed, they need tools that enable their team to do more with fewer people.
  3. Restaurants must find ways to keep their staff happy and motivated so they can continue to give a great experience to guests.

From experience, we’ve seen that businesses can rarely solve a challenge of this magnitude with a single silver bullet, but instead with a handful of golden BBs. By taking core solutions and multiplying them through a team’s everyday actions, operators can profoundly change their labor budget and, subsequently, their bottom line.

Core solutions multiplied by many small actions equals big change.

Take the schedule, for instance. When a manager schedules an employee for a shift, they spend a portion of the labor budget. When doing this, can they see how much a day costs in labor? What about projected sales? And can they see how that schedule affects the overall budget?

If they don’t have this visibility, creating a profitable schedule becomes time-consuming guesswork. However, with scheduling software, managers can get these insights where they need them most. More importantly, it sets guardrails to ensure a restaurant’s labor is always on budget and profits remain intact.

Now, let’s shift the focus to the front-of-house. Servers spend a lot of time running between tables and the point-of-sale (POS). A handheld POS can eliminate those trips. But the impact of such a device goes further than just saving a little time. Each server can take more tables and get more tips, orders hit the kitchen at an even pace and come out faster, guests order more, fewer mistakes are made, parties pay when they’re ready, and tables turn faster. All because of a small device tucked in an apron pocket.

SpotOn’s playbook, “The No BS Guide to Restaurant Profit,” explores how core solutions like these can be implemented in every area of an operation. From front-of-house to back-of-house to the back office, operators can find tools for their specific restaurant type to spark positive change and move the profit needle.

Ultimately, the ripple effect of these solutions goes beyond financial profit. With the right tools, managers are more relaxed, becoming better leaders. Staff are empowered, giving better service. And guests feel cared for, becoming loyal believers. And in the end, the true ROI in restaurants is not just in the profit it makes, but also in the people it serves. 

Click here to download “The No BS Guide to Restaurant Profit”

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